Homeschooling in Washington: Advice for Success

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So you want to begin homeschooling in Washington State? Good news! It’s fairly easy and straightforward. There are a few laws to adhere to, but they are simple and there are lots of tools to help to keep you on track. 

We started homeschooling our daughter when she was five years old. I did basic research on what I believed to be her learning style and then we started with a boxed curriculum that fall. I guess I was right about her learning style since we love and have stuck with the same homeschool curriculum all these years (she is entering ninth grade this year). We supplement from time to time with other products and that is one of the beautiful things about homeschooling, the flexibility. 

To homeschool legally in Washington state there are some things you need to don. One of these is to make sure that you are qualified, by Washington’s standards, to homeschool your children.

So you want to begin homeschooling in Washington State? Good news! It’s fairly easy and straightforward. There are a few laws to adhere to, but they are simple and there are lots of tools to help to keep you on track.

Homeschooling in Washington

Qualification

There are four different ways you can qualify to homeschool your children Washington state. 

  • You need to have at least 45 college credits under your belt. 
  • Take a course that will qualify you to teach your children, such as the one from 
  • Have a certified teacher monitor your homeschool and meet with your children one hour a week.
  • Or have the superintendent of your school district deem you worthy. 

If you don’t have any college credits in your history then taking the parent qualifying course is the next best thing.

Need a good course? There are a few online such as this one from Christian Heritage Home Educators of Washington.

When to Start Homeschooling

In Washington State you do not need to actively homeschool your children until they are age 8. That is when you will need to start annual testing, keeping records, and making sure you are teaching the required subjects.

Age 8 is also when you will need to start sending your Letter of Intent to your local school district (NOT the local school). This is a simple form stating your intent to homeschool. Washington Homeschool Group has more details on the Letter of Intent form and you can print off a blank form at Christian Heritage Home Educators of Washington.

Homeschool Courses You Need to Teach

There is a nice list of subjects that are required for Washington resident children. 11 in all.  But never fear homeschooling parent they don’t have to be taught as individual courses. Mix them into a Unit Study or discover the gems already in the courses in your homeschool. 

The 11 subjects are reading, writing, spelling, language, math, science, social studies, history, health, occupational education, and art and music appreciation. Does that Occupational Education have you stumped? Me too but all it means is that your student needs some education in either their chosen career path or a taste of career paths.

Even though you are required to teach these 11 subjects how they will look in your homeschool is up to you. Washington Homeschoolers use a variety of methods when schooling their children. Check out this roundup of different homeschool styles.

Socializing Your Homeschooler

You may worry about finding friends for your children when you homeschool. Or people tell you that you should be worrying about it. Don’t worry. Homeschool kids socialize plenty. Probably too much.

There are several opportunities your child will have to socialize during their well rounded education. If you need some like minded moms to connect with try looking for a local Homeschool Co-Op. If you don’t know where to start try this comprehensive list of Washington Homeschool Co-ops.

Having Fun Homeschooling in Washington

Homeschooling in Washington State is not all books and rules. We have a lot of fun out here. Depending upon what part of the state you live in you can venture out in your own backyard for some amazing field trips and sights.

Washingtonians love the great outdoors. Our mild weather means we can enjoy the outdoors a lot most of the summer. And our winters are pretty short. We do a lot of camping, taking walks in the park and up the nearby falls and mountains. We also live only a couple hours drive from the coast where you can ride horses on the beach or just enjoy the coastal weather and food. Many of these trips are only the cost of gas.

We currently live in Southern Washington, just a few minutes from the Oregon border. That means we can also partake of some lovely outings courtesy of our neighbors. Here are some of the field trips we like to take

  • Oregon Symphony
  • Oregon Zoo
  • Oregon Science Museum

When we lived closer north in Seattle in addition the Space Needle, the beauty of the University of Washington in Spring, and the many museums, it was also very easy to take a ferry or even just drive up to our Canadian neighbors in Victoria and Vancouver B.C.

For a kid friendly view on all that Washington has to offer I recommend this By the Way Book on Washington as an addition to your Homeschool library.

Now that you know all the basic details on what it takes to Homeschool in Washington State I hope you’ll join us. It’s fairly simple and straightforward.

Drop a comment below if you are homeschooling in Washington: what are your favorite trips to take and resources you use? We’d love to hear about them!

And if you’d love to have a printable resource to use to keep track of state homeschool requirements, key organizations, activities and field trip plans, and curriculum notes, grab a copy of my Curriculum & Activity Planner below (it’s free!):

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Interested in learning about homeschooling in another state? Check out the Homeschooling in 50 States Series.

About the Author

Kemi Quinn

Kemi Quinn lives in Southwest Washington with her husband and daughter. They have been homeschooling for 10 years and also review for The Homeschool Review Crew. You can read more about how she homeschooled and how to organize your home at Homemaking Organized.

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4 Comments

  1. Sarah Gray says:

    I’m just in to our second year we’ve done kindergarten and now at the last week of August will be starting 1st grade.my husband was homeschooled and his late mother in law was going to help me but she passed away 4 years ago in November.I went to a private and public school so I’m slowly learning more.any tips or help I would love.

  2. Hi I’m new to homeschooling and am also minutes away from the Oregon border but am in southwestern Washington! My question is about annual testing. Where are we supposed to do that? Is it online? What do you find is the best for that? Do you have any links you can send me to for more info?
    I really appreciate this blog and that youve taken the time to explain things and take the worry and anxiety out of this topic! Thank you!

  3. Brenda M Gonzalez says:

    Great blog post about how to homeschool in WA! I’ve been homeschooling here for 11 years but am always open to more info and ideas.

    Thank you,
    Brenda González

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